Catherynne M. Valente finally blogged something I agree with!And in a literary world where everyone and their aunt adores Austen and writes pastiches, homages, fan fiction, and stories set in Austen-analogues, I sometimes feel alone, out on the moors in a black dress with my blind lover and a burning house insisting that Bronte is where it’s at, always, forever, I am not Lizzie Bennett and never was, I have been Jane and Cathy and Heathcliff in my heart since I was a child.
Yes! Oh my god! Absolutely! Sense and Sensibility
and Pride and Prejudice
are very darling books which I like very much, but Jane Eyre
and Wuthering Heights
are hands-down my two favorite 19th century novels, and definitely both somewhere near the middle of my top ten favorite novels in all of history. Much like Catherynne M. Valente, I have never been at all like Lizzie Bennet. The Austen character I identify with most is Marianne, because she has Strong Opinions about poetry and art and those opinions are Important to her and she spews violent emotions wildly in every direction. But at the end of of the novel, she decides that she really needs to calm down and marry the nice sensible guy. Which is fine. But it totally pales in comparison to Cathy sticking her head out the window in the middle of a storm and screaming, "Oh, I'm burning! I wish I were out of doors! I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy and free, and laughing at injuries, not maddening under them! Why am I so changed?...I'm sure I should be myself were I once among the heather on those hills!" And then she DIES, because she made the mistake of marrying a nice, sensible man, and they made each other miserable
But okay, apparently Catherynne M. Valente is currently working on--wait for it--A GONDAL STORY. Gondal being the imaginary fantasy kingdom that the Brontes made up when they were kids, and which Emily Bronte wrote most of her (awesome and largely ignored by almost everyone) poetry about. I AM SO EXCITED I CAN'T EVEN DEAL WITH IT. THIS COULD BE SO AMAZING.
Or it could be completely awful. If she did it wrong I would cry. A lot.
But we'll see.
One thing, though--she says, and most of the comments say, that she wishes she'd had someone to make up imaginary worlds with as a child. I don't get this at all. My primary amusement as a child was making up imaginary worlds, but I never wanted to tell ANYONE about them EVER. Not adults. Not other kids. Not even other kids who were my very good friends. They were private. They were secret. They were mine
. Whenever anyone tried to get me to play any kind of make-believe game with them, I'd get intensely
embarrassed, like they were trying to make me take my clothes off or something. This makes me sound like kind of a headcase, but there you go.